Archive for July, 2013

They Said What??? Ryan Murphy, Miley Cryus, & Andrew Garfield

“GLEE” CREATOR RYAN MURPHY

(on offering to write “Rachel Berry” out of the hit show following the recent death of her on-screen and real-life boyfriend, Corey Monteith “Finn Hudson”):  “If Lea had said to me, ‘I could never do this again and I don’t want to do this again,’ you know, she is sort of the show, so what do you do? And I would’ve, out of respect to her as a person, said ‘OK,’ but that’s not how Lea operates; that’s not how she feels.”

MORE MURPHY

“She’s handled this with so much humanity and grace and she’s also handled this in a way where she’s trying to look out for 500 other people affected by him and who have mortgages to pay and families to feed. That was never on the table for her and I said, ‘OK.’ Nothing has been done and will be done in terms of any of the material without Lea blessing it and making sure it’s OK with her — and she has been.”

PATRIARCH KIRILL I OF MOSCOW

(head of the Russian Orthodox Church preaching to parishioners in Moscow last Sunday about marriage equality):  “This is a very dangerous sign of the apocalypse.  It means people are choosing the a path of self-destruction.”

SINGER MILEY CYRUS

(talking about Justin Bieber):  “I told Justin to take a bit of time out and people aren’t so obsessed with you and nitpick.  When you’re not around, all they want is your music. They want to see what the next thing is. But when your music is out they just want to talk shit about you.”

MORE CYRUS

“He’s still stupid though. But everyone does dumb stuff when they are messed up, and he’s done dumb stuff. If it was your friend pissing into a mop box then you would be laughing, but because it’s Justin Bieber, then it’s really bad.”

KATHERINE JACKSON

(mother of singer Michael Jackson in testimony against the “This is It” concert promoters): “They watched him waste away.  They could have called me.  He was asking me for his father. My grandson told me that his daddy was nervous and scared.”

“AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” STAR ANDREW GARFIELD

(responding to his recent comment that Spiderman could be bisexual, which caused an uproar on line with fanboys):  “It was a hypothetical kind of question about the nature of these comic book characters and the nature of this particular character, and whether sexuality, race, any of those things makes any difference to the character of Peter Parker. … What Stan Lee created is an Everyman for every man. Especially the underdog. And especially for those marginalized, for those ostracized. And who is more ostracized as young teenagers than gay young teenagers? So it was more a philosophical question about that. And I long for the day where a comment like that wouldn’t make anyone batter an eyelid.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 26, 2013

It’s Friday morning and since I’m working the afternoon and evening shift, I have not been up since 1 a.m.!  While I’ll have a shortened weekend, I’m looking forward to it, nevertheless.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  Here are the things on my mind this week — my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think of them and what you’re thinking about these days.

CHINA, KEEP YOUR FAST FOOD

As you know, I love buffets and Osaka Buffet in Moline, Illinois, and Wise Guys in Davenport, Iowa, are my favorites.  However, I know some people who hate buffets because they have issues with cleanliness and others touching the same serving utensils.

However, maybe they should reconsider their eating out options, especially if they’re going to China.

mcdonalds-kfc-kungfu

China Central Television tested the ice at McDonald’s, KFC, and Kungfu, a Chinese fast-food chain, in Beijing, and found that the ice cubes contained 13 times more bacteria than water from a toilet.  The worse offender in the undercover test was KFC.  There were 900 colony-forming bacteria units per milliliter.

KFC

Now, while this sounds very gross, Dong Qingli, a food safety expert, says the headline might get your attention, but the information is not useful stating, “The bacteria count on your teeth or on the bottom of your shoe is about the same. Instead you should look at which actual bacteria types exceeded levels.”

Nevertheless, all three restaurants promise to improve their sanitary procedures.

I guess I don’t have anything to worry about with this because I have no desire to visit China and even if I did, I wouldn’t be eating American fast food in Asia!

THREE UPDATES ON LAST WEEK’S BLOG

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the city’s Fox affiliate KTVU fired three producers involved with reporting the offensive and fake names of the pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines flight 214 airplane crash that killed three people.  An investigative producer, a special projects producer, and a producer who tweeted “oh sh*t!” right after the names were read on the air were let go.

This is the graphic that started it all.

KTVU Asiana Flight 214

It now looks like Sasha Baron Cohen will not be playing Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.  Deadline.com exclusively reported, “The reason is that the band wanted to make more of a PG movie about Queen while Cohen was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer.”  That’s a bummer because I love Sacha and I know he’d be perfect in the role.  I guess I’ll have to watch him in “Borat” or “Les Miserables” again.

borat-mercury

And, Josh Rottenberg of “Entertainment Weekly” is reporting that Orson Scott Card, the controversial author of “Ender’s Game”, has “quietly stepped down from the board of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)”.

Ender's Game

As I blogged last week, NOM is an outspoken group that is against marriage equality and Card has been very vocal in the past with his views against gay people and same-sex marriage.

The $110 million movie, based on Card’s book, hits theaters November 1, 2013, and is facing a public relations’ nightmare and a boycott because of Card’s personal views.

You can read more about all three of these stories in my original post last Friday:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/random-friday-thoughts-july-19/

NAUGHTY SHIRLEY JONES

Although I was only 5-years-old when it premiered back in September 1970, I remember Shirley Jones as Shirley Partridge on “The Partridge Family”, the musical comedy that lasted four seasons on ABC.

Partridge_Family_first_cast_1970

On the show, Shirley and her children record a pop song in their garage and it becomes a hit and then they get an old school bus and go on tour.

Fast forward 43 years and the Academy Award winning actress has just released her autobiography and she shared some very naughty stories.  You may want to close your eyes and not read some of the juicy stories she tells in the book (Spoiler alert:  I share some after this picture!).

Shirley Jones

She talks a lot about her troubled 18-year marriage to the late Jack Cassidy, the father of her three sons (including Shaun Cassidy) and the father of her stepson, David Cassidy, who played her television son, Keith, on “The Partridge Family”!  Jack’s body was found in December 1976 the morning after his penthouse went up in flames.

In the book, Shirley reveals that Jack was her first lover, that he was well endowed, and that he carried on a sexual affair with musician Cole Porter before and during their marriage.  Oh, and they had a threesome with a woman that she didn’t enjoy.

David Cassidy

Now, back to David.  Apparently, he and his father shared a family trait.  Wink, wink!  Shirley writes, “David’s brothers called him Donk, for Donkey.”

Okay, Shirley, I really didn’t expect to hear such things!  But, I’ll definitely be reading your book!

BREAKING GAGA-LICIOUS NEWS!

Yes, I’m getting very excited about the new Lady Gaga single coming out in mid-August (the new album arrives this November).

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in London

Gaga sent out this news Thursday afternoon!

“It’s official! Lady Gaga returns to the stage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on August 25th for the world premiere performance of the first single from ARTPOP!”

LEBANON IS EVOLVING

After being heavily criticized by the “Human Rights Watch” for mistreatment, torture (which included conducting “anal probes examination” to “test” if a person engages in anal sex as “evidence” of being gay), and arrests of LGBT people, some progress is being made in Lebanon, in the Middle East.

LEBANON-SOCIETY-HOMOPHOBIA-RALLY

The Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) made it clear last week that being gay is NOT a mental disorder and it does NOT need to be treated.  It went on to say that “conversion therapy” that falsely converts gays into straights has no scientific backing.  The LPS made these comments after Dr. Nabil Khoury stated on prime time television that being gay is a disease and it needs to be treated.

The group says, “Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities.  The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cold Crazy Hungry

ADVANTAGES OF BEING A GAY DAD TO A 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL

One of the advantages is that you get to discuss which member of One Direction is the cutest.  I say it’s Harry Styles and for the most part, Gretel agrees.

Harry Styles Pics

And, we also both feel sorry for him for dating Taylor Swift (even though she likes Taylor and her music).

One

Harry and his band must be doing something right because they faced the fury of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).  The cult calls One Direction “perverted” and went on to diminish them and the United Kingdom as “sin-chasing, fag-enabling, God-hating, Christ-rejecting”.

In June, the WBC released this statement about the band, “These freaks and their fans think it’s funny for these five perverts to grab each other’s asses on stage. “They glamorize sin and make a mock of God’s standards. Their one purpose is to encourage the youth of this generation to pursue every lust their evil hearts can imagine.”

So, last Friday night , the cult protested at One Direction’s Kansas City, Missouri, concert prompting Harry to send out this tweet.

Harry Styles

The cult quickly tweeted a compliment to Harry for mentioning God, before sending this follow-up.

WBC

All I can say is that at this point, the Westboro Baptist Church amuses me with their ignorance.    And, while I’ve used this before, it’s still perfect and I do it every day! 🙂

Live Your Life WBC

TINA TURNER GETS MARRIED

Pop superstar Tina Turner is a married woman again!

Deutscher Medienpreis 2005

The 73-year-old Tennessee native wed her longtime German-born record producer boyfriend Erwin Bach at their home in Lake Zurich, Switzerland, last Sunday.  Tina reportedly says, “I am happier than I could ever dream of.”

While the couple has lived in Switzerland for 18 years, it looks as though they will be staying there since Tina received her Swiss citizenship in late April.

“BLURRED LINES” HAS SOME COMPETITION

I love the biggest song in the country, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”.  The song is now spending its seventh week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it’s been the top-selling digital song for the past eight weeks ago.  A few weeks, I featured the PG version and the unrated versions (featuring women showing their boobies).

Today, I’m posting the best parody of the song and video from the Seattle-based Boylesque group, Mod Carousel, which has been viewed more than a million times this week on YouTube, to positive reviews.

COMIC REACTION TO PAT ROBERTSON

A couple of weeks ago, I featured a video of televangelist Pat Robertson talking about what makes him want to vomit.  I stated my opinions then, but here’s another. 🙂

Conan Pat Robertson Follow

“THE LONE RANGER” = BIG BOMB!

I knew the latest Johnny Depp movie, “The Lone Ranger” was going to bomb at the box office.  The marketing ploy told the story.  When I saw “World War Z” and “White House Down”, the previews for “The Lone Ranger” basically stressed that it was a movie that you had to see in theaters for full effect.  In others words, please come see it and don’t wait to watch it on DVD.

The Lone Ranger

The movie’s budget is reportedly $215 million and since its July 3rd opening, it has only made $148.9 million worldwide ($82.5 million of that is from the U.S.).  It’s not the only bomb lately.  “R.I.P.D.”, “Red 2”, “White House Down”, and “Turbo” also tanked.  “Pacific Rim” performed poorly in the U.S., but is doing very well across the rest of the world.

A MOVIE RECOMMENDATION & TWO TO AVOID

We rented movies recently from Redbox.  Avoid “Texas Chainsaw 3D” and “Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters”.

Hansel & Gretel

It was painful to watch Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner in “Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters”.  If you love special effects, it was a great movie.  However, the story line was lacking and the violence was over the top.  Also, this is definitely not a movie for kids!

While it made $55.7 million in the U.S., it was a blockbuster around the rest of the world with a total take of $225.7.  A sequel is on the way!

GRADE:  D

Texas Chainsaw

There have been much better Texas Chainsaw movies and the only reason to watch this movie would be for the eye candy.  No, I’m not talking about Leatherface!   The movie earned back its budget grossing $39.3 million.

GRADE:  C-

Side Effects

The movie you should definitely rent soon is “Side Effects”, which was in theaters earlier this year.  The $30 million dollar movie ended up making $60.3 million.

It stars Oscar nominee Rooney Mara and Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, along with Jude Law and Channing Tatum.

It’s a suspenseful drama that focuses on a trial drug and who’s responsible if something bad happens while someone is taking that pill.  It has plenty of drama and a few surprise twists including the finale!  It’s a must see movie.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Even before I saw the tweets between Harry Styles of One Direction and the Westboro Baptist Church, I caught a snippet of the band latest song, “Best Song Ever” and I actually liked it enough to check out the video.  And, I’m glad I did.  It cute and humorous and the song is fun.  Yes, I admit to liking a One Direction song!

And, I’m not alone.  The “Best Song Ever” video debuted Monday and broke the Vevo record for most views — 10.9 million views in the first 24 hours!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Jennifer Holliday is best known from her Tony Award-winning role of Effie White from Broadway’s “Dreamgirls”.  “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from that musical was her only top forty Hot 100 hit, reaching #22 in 1982.  It also won her a Grammy Award.  However, “No Frills Love” hit #1 two times on the Billboard Dance charts, first in 1985 and, again, in 1996.

I got to see fabulous Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in August 2010!

And, as a bonus to kick off your weekend, here’s the extended dance remix of “No Frills Love”.  Have fun this weekend!

Anthony

It May Be Shocking, But the Pet Shop Boys’ “Electric” Is 2013’s Best CD (So Far)

There’s a world outside of an underground dive bar in a West End town.

If you stay fresh and not only change with the latest musical trends, but also set the precedence that others will follow, music acts can be as relevant today as they were thirty years ago.  That is the case with the Pet Shop Boys.

Pet Shop Boys

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe scored their first hit almost three decades ago depending on where you were when you heard the song for the first time.  If it was in American dance clubs, you likely heard “West End Girls” in 1984, but if it was on radio across the U.S. and the rest of the world, it was probably in late 1985 and early 1986.  The song reached #1 in the U.S. in May 1986.

Unless you’re a die-hard fan, many people think that when an act releases their twelfth studio album of original songs that the music may be stale.  It’s also true that many artists play things safe and produce the same music they did when they released their first album.  That is definitely not the case with “Electric”, the latest Pet Shop Boys album.

Pet-Shop-Boys-Electric-CD

I’m a firm believer that the 1980s produced the best music of my lifetime.  Yes, I’m partial to that decade because I started it as a teenager and then became a club kid.  Thirty years ago, England and the second new wave music era brought Culture Club, Duran Duran, Erasure, and Depeche Mode to this side of Atlantic and the Pet Shop Boys had just met and started making music together.  That music would become their 1986 debut album, “Please”.

Eleven studio albums and 44 Top 40 U.K. hits later, Neil and Chris were ready to release the most exciting music in quite some time (their last U.K. hit was in 2009).  This spring, they released “Axis” as a teaser for the “Electric” album and I was hooked.  I pre-ordered the album that day and now that it has arrived, I haven’t stopped playing it.

While “Electric” only features nine songs, the album is almost 50 minutes long.  The album is produced by Grammy Award-winning electronic musician Stuart Price, who’s has worked with such musical heavyweights as Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, the Scissor Sisters, The Killers, and New Order.  Price also produced “Confessions on a Dance Floor”, Madonna’s 2006 platinum album that was one of the best albums of her career.  And, the Pet Shop Boys even remixed “Sorry”, the second release from the “Confessions” album.

Stuart Price

Price’s fresh, cutting edge, electronic vibe is strongly felt on “Electric” without hiding the sound of the Pet Shop Boys that we’ve loved for so many years.  The album gets off to a blistering start with “Axis” and then segues into the fun “Bolshy”.

By the time we get to the third song, not only do we experience a dance symphony, but also the lyrical mastery that the Pet Shop Boys do so well.  The title alone, “Love is a Bourgeois Construct”, is enough to make many say ‘huh”?  But, then you feel the pain, the regret, and the promise in Tennant’s voice when he sings over a pulsing beat, “When you walked out you did me a favor/You made me see reality/This love is a bourgeois construct/It’s a blame turn to fallacy/You won’t see me with a bunch of losers/Promising fatality/Love doesn’t mean a thing to me/Talking tough as we linger/We’re better now, it’s clear to me.”

PSB4

“Fluorescent” is mesmerizing and “Inside A Dream” has a funky, club feel where music is front and center and the vocals are there just to remind you that you’re listening to the Pet Shop Boys.

While Neil and Chris wrote eight of the nine songs, there is one remake on “Electric”.  As they did to Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” (1987) and U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” (1991), they took two standards and made them their own.  That’s what they do with Bruce Springsteen’s “The Last To Die” (2007).  In the hands of the Pet Shop Boys, it becomes a haunting pulsing dance hit.

Pet Shop Boys, Electric

“Electric” ends with three over the top dance numbers, “Shouting in The Evening”, a lyrically simplistic song that reminds me a lot of 1991’s “Go” by Moby, one of my favorite techno songs of all time.

“Thursday” features English rapper Example.  This song would have the best chance of mainstream success in America because it has an updated feel of 1980s club beats, very distinguishable Pet Shop vocals and music, and a strong rap, which is pretty much a staple of many songs played on Top 40 radio these days in the U.S.

I’ve already talked about how much I love “Axis”, the first song on “Electric”.  The disc ends just as strong with “Vocal”.  With Neil Tennant’s vocals and Chris Lowe’s music, no one can sing and express the lyrics from “Vocal” better than the Pet Shop Boys,  “And everything about tonight feels right and so young/And anything I’d want to say out loud will be sung/This is my kind of music/They play it all night long”

While I love all nine songs on “Electric”, my favorite songs are “Axis”, “Love is a Bourgeois Construct”, “Shouting in the Evening”, “Thursday”, and “Vocal”.

As I mentioned earlier in the blog, I was sold on the album once I heard “Axis”.  At that time, the Pet Shop Boys’ fans “The Petheads” had already bought all the great seats in Chicago at the Auditorium Theater.  Now, I’m frantically watching ebay and stubhub.com to land us two great seats for their September 28th concert.  The band says the tour is like a club party and I want to be there!  What a perfect birthday present that would be for me!

PSB Concert PSB Concert

“Electric” by the Pet Shop Boys is the best album I’ve bought this year.

Sadly, the band has only scored six hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in America (compared to 44 hits in the U.K.), “West End Girls” (#1, 1986), “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) (#10, 1986), “It’s A Sin” (#9, 1987), “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” (with Dusty Springfield) (#2, 1987), “Always on My Mind” (#4, 1988), and “Domino Dancing” (#18, 1988), but if you loved any of those radio songs and you’re a fan of dance music, you’ll love “Electric”!

GRADE:  A

Anthony

They Said What??? President Jimmy Carter, Stevie Wonder, & Miley Cyrus

FOX COMMENTATOR BILL O’REILLY

“I would like the states to decide what kind of society they want.  I don’t buy into the fact that homosexuals have a constitutional right to marry; I don’t believe that, because If that were true, then pluralists would, then Mormons could have more than one [spouse].”

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER

“At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.”

MORE CARTER

(on NSA information leaker Edward Snowden):  “He’s obviously violated the laws of America, for which he’s responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far.  I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial. I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing.”

SINGER MILEY CYRUS

“Everybody said I was a lesbian but I’m like, ‘Being a lesbian isn’t a bad thing. So if you think I look like I’m a lesbian, I’m not offended. You can call me much worse.  I’ve been called much worse. Being a lesbian is a compliment more than what else they call me.”

ACTRESS KIRSTIE ALLEY

(in a tweet slamming Scientology expert and former “Village Voice” editor Tony Ortega for claiming she was upset with actress Leah Remini for leaving Scientology):  “lying news outlets. I do NOT care what religion ANYONE is or isn’t. I respect religions & would fight for your freedom as well as mine.”

“THE WIRE” CREATOR DAVID SIMON

(responding about the George Zimmerman verdict):  “If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve. I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.”

MORE SIMON

“I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country. Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.”

MUSIC ICON STEVIE WONDER

(responding to the George Zimmerman acquittal):  “I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,”. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”

MORE WONDER

“The truth is that—for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world—we can’t bring them back.  What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 19, 2013

I know that there are many of you out there that are just loving this heat and humidity.  I just love the fact that the central air works!  I’m so ready for fall!  Here’s a comparison of the first 16 days of July 2012 to the first 16 days of July 2013.

First 16 days of July

Notice that it was hotter and drier last year even though we only had rain twice this July in the first 16 days of the month!  It’s so dry and I don’t want to have to keep watering the new trees we planted and the garden.  Other than the heat, the humidity and the dog days of summer, here are my other random thoughts this Friday.

THERE’S STILL SO MUCH HATE IN THIS COUNTRY

Tensions are still running high across the United States following last Saturday night’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012.  Race is definitely playing a role in how people are reacting to the verdict.  But, believe it or not, the hate group, the American Family Association (AFA) is using this trial and the verdict to attack gay people!

Conservative radio host Bryan Fischer, who’s also a high-ranking official with the AFA, is one of those hateful people.  Here are some of the tweets he sent out defending Zimmerman and attacking others.

Fischer TweetFischer Tweet 2

TALK ABOUT HATE AND IGNORANCE

Latin singer (and Jennifer Lopez’s ex-husband) Marc Anthony sang “God Bless America” Tuesday night in the seventh inning of the MLB All-Star Game in New York City.   And, this did not go over well with some fans of America’s favorite pastime.  Check out some of these ignorant tweets (and these were some of the more innocent ones that didn’t involve really bad racial overtones)!

Marc Anthony 1 Marc Anthony 2 Marc Anthony 3

For the record, Anthony was born in New York City in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood.  While he may be of Puerto Rican descent, he is an American!

Marc Anthony sings God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch at Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in New York

We have come so far in this country, yet we still have a long way to go.  We must never give up hope!

RUSSIA, MOVE OUT OF THE DARK AGES

While I love vodka, I have never had any desire to visit Russia.  And, now, with a new law in place, I definitely won’t be going there and I wouldn’t be welcomed.

Putin

The new law that was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and went into effect June 30th allows the government to arrest or detain gay or “pro-gay” foreigners for up to two weeks before expelling them from the country.  While the “pro-gay” language is vague, Travel + Escape, a Canadian website, says it could be “gay-affirmative” speech, displaying a rainbow flag and same-sex partners holding hands.

Fines could range from $156 to $6,250 in U.S. dollars for what “The Voice of Russia” calls “any display of affection between same-sex couples could cause a ‘distorted understanding’ that gay relations and heterosexual relations are socially equivalent, and risk spreading Western liberalism”.

But, Putin says the law is not anti-gay and that others should mind their own business, “We are talking about protecting children from the respective information.  We ask that (other countries) do not interfere in our regulation.”

I guess we should still call Russia the U.S.S.R. (or the Soviet Union) since it’s still living in the dark ages!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

CUREDEyes Ear Mouth Resolution

CANCUN

Last fall, I visited Houston, Texas, with Ray, twenty years after my first visit.  The first time was with one of my best friends, Dennis.

Interestingly enough, the first time I visited Cancun, Mexico, in 1993, it was also with my friend Dennis.  He got us round trip airline tickets from Nashville, Tennessee, and the Cancun trip for only $299!  Now, twenty years later, Ray and I have passports and we’re heading to Cancun in about a month.

Here are a couple of pictures that I took from that 1993 trip.  I hope now that we’ve planned this beach vacation, I’ll find the motivation I need to lose ten pounds in four weeks!

Cancun 1993 001 Cancun 1993 002

KELLY CLARKSON GOT ME EXCITED

All it took was one tweet!  And, no it wasn’t a backstage shot of a shirtless Adam Levine since her tour with Maroon 5 doesn’t start until August 1st!

Kelly Tweet

Although you know as much as I do from this tweet and picture, it would appear that Kelly is recording new music with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood.  Since ABC cancelled “Malibu Country” and her last radio single was in late 2011 (“Somebody’s Chelsea”), we haven’t heard much of “singer” Reba.

I don’t care if this is for a new album for Kelly or Trisha, I’m just excited that there will be new Reba music.  One could only hope that Reba is recording an album for early 2014!

Reba and Kelly first worked together on Reba’s “Duets” album that debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart (her only #1 “pop” album) in the fall of 2007, selling more than 300,000 copies in the first week!

The lead single from that album, “Because of You” reached #2 on the country charts in August 2007.  Two years earlier, Kelly took the song to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming her sixth Top Ten hit on that chart.

Come on Reba.  Let’s make a return to country radio in 2014!

ASSOCIATE OF THE MONTH — REALLY?

Through the wonders of Facebook, people you haven’t talked to in 20 or 30 years can touch base with you.  And, you can find out that you were named “Associate of the Month” for your “excellent coverage” of a news story!

WYTV May 2001

This was at WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio.  While I don’t remember this achievement, I do remember the story.   And, I have to admit that the picture of me is a bit of a scary flashback, but the little blurb did bring a smile to my face since it was May 2001 and Miss ABBA, my beautiful golden was turning one year old!

So, here’s a bonus picture of Miss ABBA from the summer of 2001.

ABBA Spring 2001

GIVING JOURNALISTS A BAD NAME

Asiana Airlines accepted an apology and is dropping its lawsuit against San Fransisco television station KTVU after the station announced wrong, offensive names for the pilots involved in that airline’s deadly plane crash July 6th that killed three people.

The station made a call to the National Transportation Safety Board and apparently got confirmation of the names of the pilots from an intern.

But, seriously, what kind of idiots (and it wasn’t just the news anchor) didn’t catch that these names sounded out as “Captain Something Wrong”, “We Too Low”, and “Holy F**k”.

KTVU Asiana Flight 214

Just where did the station get these names in the first place?

How fitting is it that Don Henley of The Eagles scored his first solo hit with the anti-news business song, “Dirty Laundry” (#3, 1982).  It includes the lines, “We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five/She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye/It’s interesting when people die/Give us dirty laundry”.

Rest assured that not all journalists are irresponsible with information and your trust!

IOWA SINGER IS READY FOR THE BIG TIME

Earlier in the week, I blogged about Eli Lieb, a southeastern Iowa musician that has been working in New York City to make a name for himself in the music business.  He now lives in Los Angeles and is on the verge of making it big with his latest song, “Young Love”.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since its release about a week ago, the video has already been viewed almost a quarter of a million times on YouTube!  If you missed it, here’s the video.

And, here’s the link to Tuesday’s blog so you can read more about Eli:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

FREDDIE MERCURY LIVES!

While it was announced back in late 2010 by Queen guitarist Brian May, it now looks like we’ll finally be seeing a movie based on the group’s bisexual lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died in late 1991 from an AIDS-related illness, at the age of 45.

freddie_with_crown

Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsasa, in Zanzibar, in East Africa.  While he was flamboyant on stage, he was personally very shy.  The singer, who dated men and women, became the first major rock star to die of AIDS.  Interestingly enough, it’s reported that he always denied that he was HIV-positive or had AIDS and it was only announced publicly one day before he died in London on November 24, 1991.

sacha-baron-cohen

“Borat” and “Les Miserables” actor Sacha Baron Cohen will play Mercury and he’s already taking singing lessons.  IMDb is reporting that the film will be “a chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985.”  It’s also rumored that Tom Hooper, who also directed “Les Miserables” and “The King’s Speech” will be behind the camera.

This sounds like an exciting movie and it’s expected in 2014.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The English rock band Queen formed in 1970.  While the band did not achieve instant success, it has now sold an estimated 150 million to 300 million albums world-wide since its debut album, “Queen”, came out in the summer of 1973.

“Killer Queen” was the band’s first  American hit in 1974 peaking at #12.

Queen Radio Gaga

Queen would go on to chart 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, five would reach the Top Ten and two would top the chart:  “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites The Dust” (1980).  “Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days of Our Lives” would go all the way to #2 in 1991.

My selection today was released in late October 1979, but it reached #1 on the Hot 100 in late February 1980, so it qualifies as one of my “80’s Friday Flashback” songs.

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

And, since we’re on the subject of Queen, let’s curtsy to Queen Elizabeth II!

Queen Elizabeth II Pride

Earlier this week, the Queen gave her blessing on marriage equality after Parliament passed its third reading.  Back in May, the House of Commons passed the bill by a vote of 366 to 161.   Same-sex marriages will begin in the United Kingdom next year!

Prime Minister David Cameron has pushed for marriage equality since 2011 when he told his own Conservative Party, “Yes, it’s about equality. But it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society’s stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”

Congratulations, Great Britain!

ENDER’S GAME” CONTROVERSY

EndersGame

“Ender’s Game” is a science fiction action movie coming out November 1, 2013, starring Asa Butterfield (“Hugo”), Academy Award nominees Harrison Ford (“Witness”), Viola Davis (“Doubt” and “The Help”), Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), and Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), along with Oscar winner Ben Kingsley (“Gandhi”).

It’s based on the popular 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card.  However, with just a little over three months before the $110 million movie’s premiere, it’s marred in a publicity nightmare and the LGBT group, Geeks OUT! is even proposing a boycott of the movie because of comments made by the book’s author.

Orson Scott Card

Card is on the board of directors at the National Organization for Marriage, a group that is very aggressive and mean in its views against same-sex marriage.   In 2009, Card wrote in “Mormon Times” that “marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.”

And, just last year, while supporting North Carolina’s Amendment One, he called same-sex attraction, “reproductive dysfunction” and added that “normalizing a dysfunction will only make ours into a society that corrodes any loyalty to it, as parents see that our laws and institutions now work against the reproductive success (not to mention happiness) of the next generation.”

Now, the director of the movie, some of its stars, and Lionsgate Entertainment are distancing themselves from Card.  Lionsgate issued this in a statement, “As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community […] we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage”.

Card recently told “Entertainment Weekly” (“EW”) that his anti-marriage views are now “moot” because of the Supreme Court’s late June decision on  the Defense of Marriage Act.

And, even with all of his negative views toward same-sex couples wanting the right to marry, it sounds like Card is playing the victim telling “EW”,  “Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”

Say what????  Let me get this straight.  Now, Card wants the LGBT community and its supporters to be tolerant and open-minded and come out to see “Ender’s Game” — just to line his pockets with more money.  That, Mr. Card, sounds more like a joker than an ace!

enders-game-boycott

So, what are your thoughts on this or anything else I talked about today?  I welcome your opinions whether we agree or disagree.  Have yourself a great weekend and, as always, thank you for checking out my blog.

Anthony

Finding “Young Love” A World Away From Iowa

If you’re an actor or a singer, Los Angeles and New York City are worlds away from Iowa and Illinois.  It’s true that you can be discovered anywhere, but it’s also true that once you bite the bullet and move to the big city and start hitting the streets and playing clubs that your chances of “making it big” increase.

For Eli Lieb, he’s working hard to make those dreams come true — first in New York City and now in Los Angeles.

eli_lieb

While he’s very busy prepping his new album and his new song and video, “Young Love”, Eli and I corresponded late last week for this blog.

Lieb grew up in southeastern Iowa about two hours from the Quad Cities.  He moved to New York City when he was 20-years-old and stayed there for more than a decade playing his music, recording his self-titled and self-produced debut album, and taking advantage of social media and the internet to get his music out there.

Eli tells me, “Being in control over who I am and what I do has been such a blessing. I’m always open to everything and anything but so far it has been very rewarding to be able to create all that I have created totally on my own.”

On his YouTube page, Eli has an extensive collection of songs featuring his versions of hits by one of his influences, Robyn, along with Rihanna, Pink, Justin Timberlake, Adele, Maroon 5,  Lana Del Ray, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga.

While he was putting the finishing touches on his new song and video, “Young Love”, America started hearing about Steve Grand, a Chicago singer, who released a video featuring a one-sided same-sex affair — a gay man crushing on his straight or curious friend.  While no country station is brave enough to add that song, “All-American Boy”, Eli says that the internet opens up a whole new avenue for musicians, especially gay singers and artists.

“Social networking is definitely a huge help. Times they are a-changing, and people want that change. I am so happy that Steve released a fearless video as well – there seriously must be something in the air for us to both release videos like this within a week of each other, and I love that! All I want is for people to live their lives without fear and for this world to be as unified and peaceful as possible.”

Young Love Album cover

Since debuting late last week, “Young Love” has already been viewed on YouTube more than 200,000 times!

Eli says, “I’m so excited about ‘Young Love’. It completely represents where I am as a songwriter right now and it’s definitely a sign of what’s to come from me . And I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the video came out. I really just wanted to capture the feeling of being newly in love and just living life in that happy elated state.”

In the “Young Love” video, Eli’s love interest is played by Aaron Milo, who is originally from Rockford, Illinois.

Eli Lieb Aaron Milo

Aaron starred in the gay comedies, “Eating Out 4:  Drama Camp” (2011) and “Eating Out 5:  The Open Weekend” (2012) as Benji, the new “straight” boy.  If you haven’t seen the movies, they are hilarious.

Eli and Aaron not only share Eli’s first screen kiss, but by being friends, they have more in common!  Eli adds, “Working with Aaron was really great. He’s a good friend of mine, so it was really fun to bring him into the video. We had a blast running around for 2 days having fun and filming. The whole cast was amazing and we all totally bonded over this experience. And as Aaron was already friend of mine, so we have definitely discussed Britney together 🙂 ”

And, while this is about the ultra-talented Eli, I have to share this fun and sexy video that Aaron made with his “Eating Out” co-star Daniel Skelton.  Britney fans rejoice!

With his new album on the way and “Young Love” gaining traction, you’ll definitely be hearing much more about Eli Lieb.  And, no matter how popular he gets, I know that Eli will never forget his Iowa roots.

Eli says, “Well, since I grew up in Iowa and still spend a good amount of time there, I’m totally bias. I can just say it’s one of my favorite places on earth. The people are so kind and accepting and it really is a wonderfully beautiful place to be.”

You can learn much more about Eli on his website, http://elilieb.com/

Anthony

They Said What??? Margaret Cho, Pat Robertson, & LeAnn Rimes

RELIGIOUS ZEALOT PAT ROBERTSON

“You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you like that? Well that makes me want to throw up. To me I would punch ‘Vomit’ not ‘Like’ but they don’t give you that option on Facebook.”

ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE

(speaking about gay people):  “I should like to shut them-up in some room and see if they get pregnant; if they don’t then its jail because they have claimed they can have children. So, to that kind of rot, we say no, no, no, no!”

MORE MUGABE

“Women are also engaged in this vile activity.  We have some claiming to be men but what is it that makes you a man? Show us your manhood. You want to make other women your wives and you the husband? Well, that is madness; we refuse to accept that.”

SINGER LEANN RIMES

“I was bullied when I was a kid — when I was in junior high. A lot of girls can get real mean during the sixth grade year.  i used to perform around Dallas and Texas where I lived, a lot. My principal would put something on the bulletin board if I was in the newspaper or something, and there was this clique of girls that did not like it.  So, I had my locker egged, I had a girl bring a knife to school the last day of sixth grade and tried to kill me! Awesome. So, I’d say I was bullied a little.”

MORE RIMES

“I’ve been such a target I guess for misjudgment lately, and a lot of anger from some people, especially through social media. Obviously we’re [celebrities] underneath a microscope and in the spotlight all the time, but it’s no reason to be able to pick apart someone the way that a lot of people do. We’re human … this is my job, and then I have my life. But I’m a human being in both of them — and I think people forget that a lot of times.”

NEW YORK TIMES WRITER MARK BITTMAN

(criticizing Beyonce Knowles for her Pepsi endorsement and working with Michelle Obama’s fitness campaign in his article, “Why Do Stars Think It’s O.K. to Sell Soda?):  “Knowles is renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in.  From saying, as she once did in referring to Let’s Move, that she was ‘excited to be part of this effort that addresses a public health crisis,’ she’s become part of an effort that promotes a public health crisis.”

POP SUPERSTAR SINGER BEYONCE

(responding to the criticism):  “Pepsi is a brand I’ve grown up seeing my heroes collaborate with.  The company respects musicians and artistry. I wouldn’t encourage any person, especially a child, to live life without balance.”

PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KATHLEEN KANE

(announcing that she will not defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban being challenged by 10 same-sex couples and one widow):  “We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I want to start acting like that.  It is our duty, each and every one of us, to protect the constitutionality, to protect the rights and dignity of others, and to protect the equality of all men and women in this Commonwealth.”

COMEDIAN MARGARET CHO

(about saying John Travolta is “so gay” and “like Oscar Wilde gay” in Australia earlier this year):  “You know, I would hope that he would be able to be himself. It’s not even like I’m outing him, because it’s so obvious.  That’s like outing Liberace.  All I’m doing is taking public speculation and joining it with what I know to be true.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 12

How’s your week going?  This week, I’ve been nursing a sunburn to just my face and stomach from spending too many hours in the pool last Sunday with Ray.  It’s been several years since I had a sunburn and that was from a tanning bed!

Otherwise, the John Deere Classic is going on the Quad Cities.  While I’m not a golf fan, it was nice getting four invitations to parties (three at the Classic) focusing around the tournament.  It’s fun to eat and drink and socialize even if you’re not watching the play!  I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts today.

BREAKING NEWS

“Rah rah ah ah ah”.  While I had already planned a controversial Lady Gaga mention in today’s blog (you’ll see it below), Mother Monster made a very big (HUGE!) announcement in the very early hours Friday morning while you were sleeping!

ARTPOP

“ARTPOP”, her third full length studio album and the follow-up to the multi-platinum, “Born This Way” disc, will be released on November 11, 2013, and the new Lady Gaga single comes out August 19th.  I’m so excited.  I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’D LIKE TO VOMIT, TOO, BUT I’M ON THE WAGON!

As I’ve blogged and shared before, I’m a recovering food addict.  I was bulimic from 1986-1995 and I’ve been on the wagon ever since.  Yes, I think of how much easier it would be if I was still a practicing bulimic rather than having to eat healthy and exercise, but that would be very unhealthy!  But, this blog has nothing to do with that.  It’s just a metaphor.

However, Pat Robertson, the religious zealot and host of “The 700 Club” basically says that I make him want to vomit and I guess in all fairness, that’s okay because he makes me want to vomit, too!

Pat, here’s something for you.

Vomit

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Profile PicLoved and lost

IS THAT WHY I LOVE DOUGHNUTS?

In the past I’ve talked about how much I love doughnuts and donut-flavored vodka.  (I’ll spell it both ways to cover all bases).  Now, I find that there might be a reason! 🙂

Donuts

Years ago, I subscribed to the website realage.com to do some survey on life expectancy.  Occasionally, the site will send me an email for new quizzes.  Interestingly enough, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email with the subject line, “Tasty tips for your love life”.  Of course, it got my attention and I clicked on it instead of just deleting it.

And, this is what I found:  “Aphrodisiac Foods  — We’ve got a food list that’ll spice up your sex life. These natural aphrodisiacs will get both of you in the mood for love.”  So, I kept reading and if it’s true, a trip to grocery store might be all you need, my friends!

The article claims, “Men, a sniff of lemons, doughnuts, or licorice can increase blood flow to your genitals. For women, licorice and cucumbers often do it.”  WTH???

twizzlers

Now that I have your curiosity aroused, forget the B-52s and the “Love Shack”, here are the “love snacks” that Real Age recommends!

Love Snacks

Bon appetit, you sexy devil!

COUNTRY WITH A HINT OF PINK

Quickly, name an African-American pop star.  Of course you’re thinking Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and the list goes on and on.

Now, name a black country music star.  If you’re on top of your game, Darius Rucker and Charley Pride come to mind.  After those two, you’d have to think very hard and you’d likely come up empty-handed.  Big & Rich fans might say Cowboy Troy. While he hit #2 on the country album chart in 2005, he never scored a Top 40 country solo hit.  I also remember Rissi Palmer and while she released three singles in 2007-2008, none of them cracked the Top 40 at country radio either.

Let’s try another.  Name a gay pop singer.  This is another easy one:  Elton John, George Michael, Tegan & Sara, Ricky Martin, Boy George, Melissa Etheridge, and many more.

Now, name an out country music singer.  You might say k.d. lang.  She did have two hit country albums that reached #9 and #12 on the chart in the late-1980s and two modest hit songs at country radio during the late-1980s, reaching #21 and #22.  However, that was before she came out as a lesbian in 1992.

There’s also Chely Wright.  She scored nine Top 40 country hits between 1997 and 2005.  One of them, “Single White Female” made it to the Top Ten peaking at #1 in 1999.

However, she didn’t come out as a lesbian until 2007.

Now, there’s a Chicago singer that’s gaining national attention. Could 22-year-old Steve Grand be the first openly gay country singer?  The video to “All-American Boy” has now been viewed more than  462-thousand times.

Steve-Grand-All-American-Boy

Earlier this month, Steve said, “I fought with who I was for most of my life. In every way a young person can fight with himself.  But starting today, I’m laying it out there. I’m done playing it safe.”  He added, “I feel like most music industry people wouldn’t like the idea of me “pigeonholing” myself by telling this story as I have. But I don’t believe the world sees change until it sees honesty.”

Steve, good luck!

SWEDISH FEAR OF WOLVES

I just read an article about the late author Stieg Larsson, who wrote the “Millennium” series (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”) and I found out something very interesting about Swedish culture.

When he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, there was an old Swedish law, written about 100 years ago, that was still on the books that prohibited children from attending school until they were seven.

Swedish Wolves

It was to protect little kids from being devoured by wolves as they were coming and going to school when walking through the woods and forests.

GET WELL SOON, ELTON

Sir Elton John has been forced to “postpone all forthcoming shows from his current European tour.”

The 66-year-old rocket fell ill while on tour and his medical team ordered a number of exploratory scans and blood tests.  He was diagnosed with appendicitis and is currently taking intensive antibiotics to reduce toxins within the inflamed appendicitis site and he’ll undergo surgery in the next few weeks.

Summer tour dates in London, Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Spain, and Monaco were cancelled.  While Elton will not return to touring until he’s fully recovered, he hopes to play his September and October dates, which include 14 shows at The Colosseum At Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Elton LasVegas

We saw him there last October for my birthday weekend (Elton on Friday night and Madonna on Saturday night).  He was flawless and fantastic.  Elton, I wish you a speedy recovery.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

For today’s ’80s flashback, who better to feature than Elton John.

From his first hit, “Your Song” (#8, 1970) to his last radio hit, “Written In the Stars” (#29, 1999) with LeAnn Rimes, Elton made 60 Top 40 appearances on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those 60 songs, 29 reached the Top Ten, 20 of them climbed into the Top 5, and nine made it all the way to number one!

There are so many of his hits that I absolutely love, but today I’ll share a song that only reached #13 in 1989, but with his upcoming surgery, you couldn’t find a more convenient hit song than “Healing Hands”.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

As you probably know, I love taking pictures and sharing them on Facebook.  However, unless I’m on vacation or on a getaway, I don’t take as many pictures now that Miss ABBA is in “puppy heaven”.  Looking back this week in 2010, we were at Ray’s parent’s old house on Spirit Lake, Iowa.  Yes, it was a challenge keeping both of our girls out of the water!

ABBA Fish 07172010  Gretel ABBA 07172010Anthony Ray 07182010

And, two years ago, as Gretel celebrated her birthday with a little cookout with cake and ice cream with her neighborhood friends, I drove to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to spend the evening with Britney.  Yes, Britney “It’s Britney, Bitch” Spears.

Anthony Britney 07092011 Britney 07092011

ANTICIPATION IS BUILDING AND I’M NOT ALONE!

billboard.com recently held its Mid-Year Music Awards and while I didn’t take part in the voting, I definitely agree with the top two choices of what online readers were excited about in the music industry this fall.

Most Anticipated Event of 2013’s Second Half: 


1. New Music From Britney Spears (23%)
2. New Music From Lady Gaga (19%)
3. Beyonce’s ‘Mrs. Carter’ Tour… And Album? (17%)

In all fairness, I’m curious to hear Beyonce’s new music and I’d definitely see her in concert.  But, my loyalty lies with Britney and Gaga.

While Britney is currently in the studio working with will.i.am on her eighth studio album due this fall, her new song, “Ooh La La”, from the soundtrack to this summer’s “The Smurfs 2” is currently at #23 on Mediabase’s radio airplay chart.

Britney claims that she “always loved the Smurfs as a kid and now my boys are the biggest Smurfs fans EVER. I wanted to surprise them with a song in the movie. I know they’ll think it’s Smurftastic!”.

The video to “Ooh La La” was just released yesterday and features not only Britney, but her sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James.

britney-spears-ooh-la-la-video-still

About the new album, expected this fall, Britney says, “I want to definitely take this album and have a new approach with it and make it a little different than anything I’ve ever done.  Will has a lot of really interesting different tracks that I’ve listened to that are really cool that I haven’t actually written on yet, but there’s a lot of guitar and I think people will be surprised with this album. It’s gong to be really different.”

Earlier this year, will.i.am & Britney scored a Top Five hit (and #1 on the Billboard Dance chart) with “Scream & Shout”.

Britney is also “really, really excited” to be working with William Orbit on the new album.  He’s co-produced Madonna’s Grammy-winning 1998 “Ray of Light” album.  Orbit is also excited about the venture.  He posted this on his Facebook page, “Going to cut vocals in LA with Britney in a few weeks.  We’ve songs to die for.”

PUT YOUR PAWS UP!

After being forced to cancel the rest of her highly successful and profitable, “Born This Wall Ball” Tour earlier this year because of a labral tear of the right hip that required surgery, Lady Gaga has been rather quiet.  She even shut down her Twitter account recently.  Obviously, it was for some big news (“ARTPOP” comes out in November and her new single arrives in August!)

Many were already speculating that there was going to be a big announcement since billboard.com posted this story recently, “On two recent Interscope Records industry email blasts (its “Top 40 Fact Sheet”), a simple closing line has shown at the end, after the label has filled in radio/records/trades on other current releases. Four words:  “COMING SOON: LADY GAGA!”

I’m so excited that we’re on “The Edge of Glory” to hear new music from Mother Monster!  Her last hit at Top 40 radio was “Marry The Night” and that was released in November 2011!

Gaga Las Vegas

I was so lucky to see Gaga in Las Vegas, Nevada, in late January, just nine shows before she had to cancel the rest of the tour!

A few weeks ago, Gaga came out for one of her first live performances since February, when she sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at New York City’s Gay Pride parade.

And, of course, that performance has become controversial because she changed the last line from “home of the brave” to “home for the gays”.

Allen West Tweet

Allen West - Lady Gaga

Former U.S. Congressman, Tea Party advocate, and current Fox News contributor (enough said, but I’ll carry on) Allen West posted this on his Facebook page, “I find Lady Gaga’s defiling of our National Anthem reprehensible… This young lady should be taken to Ft. McHenry and given a history lesson as to why Francis Scott Key wrote those words incredible words… She and all those who cheered her abomination should be ashamed and apologize to every serving and retired member of our Armed Services. But perhaps I ask too much…”

But, Gaga isn’t his only target lately.

More West RantsEven More West Rants

I’m glad we live in the land of the free where West has a right to say whatever he wants, even if I think he’s a blowhard.  Some may think the same of me!

And, one last Anthem comment, conservatives also criticized Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, and Steven Tyler for changing the words to the National Anthem.

So, what are your thoughts?  Was Gaga wrong to change the words to the National Anthem?

SEARING A THOUGHT INTO YOUR BRAIN

“Under the Dome”, the new hit CBS drama based on a Stephen King novel, is one my favorite shows on television. It’s debut episode was the highest drama summer premiere on any network since 1992 with 16.7 million viewers.

If you haven’t seen the three episodes that have aired, you have to catch up!  A mysterious dome appears over Chester’s Mill, Maine, cutting part of the town off from the world around it.  No one knows how or why it appeared or how to make it go away.  People have died and I’m sure more will before the 13-episode first season ends September 16, 2013.

I warned you earlier that you might want to skip this part, but the most incredible special effect in the premiere was when the dome came down on a cow pasture and one unfortunate bovine was cut in half.  This is the aftermath, but the effects were incredible watching it happen.  Way to go to the producers and CBS for being clever (and gross)!

COW UNDER THE DOME

Okay, I can’t leave you on that note.  My apologies.  “Under The Dome” is not all gore and sadness.

Under The Dome Shirtless

Peace!  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony

You can watch all of the episode for free here:  http://www.cbs.com/shows/under-the-dome/

They Said What??? Mike Huckabee, BET Networks, & Daniel Merriweather

FAILED REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE MIKE HUCKABEE

“Despite the frothing of advocates to the contrary, I’m neither a homophobe nor a hater.  I’m simple enough to believe that a marriage of one man and one  woman not only is the only biological combination capable of creating the next generation, but in the context of monogamous and committed relationship, it’s the best context for children to learn how to replace their parents.”

FASHION BLOGGER B. SCOTT

(after BET, Black Entertainment Television forced him to look less feminine before an appearance at an awards show):  “It’s not just about the fact that BET forced me to pull my hair back, asked me to take off my makeup, made me changed my clothes and prevented me from wearing a heel.  It’s more so that from the mentality and environment created by BET made me feel less than and that something was wrong with who I am as a person.”

BET NETWORKS

(apologizing for the incident):  “BET Networks embraces global diversity in all its forms and seeks to maintain an inclusive workforce and a culture that values all perspectives and backgrounds.  The incident with B. Scott was a singular one with a series of unfortunate miscommunications from both parties. We regret any unintentional offense to B. Scott and anyone within the LGBT community and we seek to continue embracing all gender expressions.”

AUSTRALIAN SINGER DANIEL MERRIWEATHER

(lashing out at the international superstar because she didn’t mention his name in an interview with Katie Couric):  “It is astounding that Celine Dion tries to pass off lyrics that I wrote as her own. Why would an artist of Celine Dion’s calibre and prowess need to (take) credit like this?  This song has every ounce of my heartache and pain in it and she pretends as if she wrote it herself. It actually is quite strange … like what more do you want? You have sold 200 million albums worldwide but you can’t give credit to the artist (me) that wrote the song you have named your album after?”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 5, 2013

The weekend is almost here and that means it’s Friday and I get to share some of my random thoughts!  When I do this, it’s my way of expressing some of the things that have crossed my mind.  Some are small, some are big, and some have little relevance to anything, but I love having this avenue.  I know you may not always agree with me or I may enlighten you on something you haven’t thought about, but I appreciate you checking out my blog and my random thoughts.  I always welcome your thoughts, too.

I hope you all had a great time celebrating our independence from England yesterday!

Happy Fourth

Oh, the Fourth of July.  A day to show off your pride and wear your finest red, white, and blue!  What a way to rock that fringe!!  (Thanks Stacia!)

Behind_the_Candelabra_poster

By the way, I pre-ordered “Behind the Candelabra”, the HBO Liberace movie with Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his much younger lover, Scott Thorson.  It covers the last ten years of the flamboyant singer’s life and his “secret” affair with Thorson.  “Secret”?  That’s right, people thought he was straight!  (Said no on ever — out loud!)

When “Candelabra” aired on HBO on May 26, 2013, 3.5 million people tuned in making it the highest rated TV film for the network since 2004.  It arrives on DVD on September 17, 2013.

HATERS DEFY THE RECORD NUMBER OF OPEN-MINDED

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.  This now makes federal benefits available to people in same-sex marriages.

Earlier this week, a new USA Today poll shows that a record number of Americans (55%) support marriage equality.  That’s the highest level of support nationwide since Gallup first asked this question in 1996 when only 27% of Americans supported marriage equality.

Yet, while millions are rejoicing and are moving to the right side of history, there are still haters that can’t mind their own business and tend to their own lives, families, and marriages.  Of course, one of the first to speak out against this righting of a wrong in American history was Chick-fil-A COO and President Dan T. Cathy.

Here’s what he tweeted (and quickly deleted) on the day of the SCOTUS landmark decision.

Dan Cathy

Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnson quickly issued a statement saying, “He realized his views didn’t necessarily represent the views of all customers, restaurant owners and employees and didn’t want to distract them from providing a great restaurant experience” and that “Chick-fil-A is focused on providing great-tasting food and genuine hospitality to everyone.”  If you read between the lines, that basically says the company wants your money — regardless of who you love.

I’ve made it very clear in the past about how I feel about Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy and the money they give to anti-gay groups, so I won’t go there today.  (You can type in Chick-fil-A in the search engine at the top of the blog to read the previous stories!)  However, I’ll just let three sassy “ladies” do the work for me.

Warning:  NSFW!

THE WEAKEST LINK IN EQUALITY

In that poll released this past Monday, “USA Today” also reports that the only other major demographic groups that a majority still opposes marriage equality are Republicans (68%) and seniors 65 and older (51%).

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS — RAP WITH A HEART  ❤

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop music.  In 1986, I owned the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” cassette and in 1990, I bought the cassette of “To The Extreme” by Vanilla Ice!  However, there’s a Seattle rapper and producer that I have to shout out to and say “thank you”.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis are one of the hottest acts in pop music today.  Just this year alone, the duo topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks (and the R&B/Hip-Hop chart for 14 weeks) with “Thrift Store”.  Its already sold almost 5.6 million copies.  They followed that up with five more weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and 7 weeks atop the R&B/Hip-Hop chart with “Can’t Hold Us”.  That song’s sales are up to 3.1 million copies.

Almost one year ago, on July 18, 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released “Same Love” with singer Mary Lambert.  The song was written to support legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, which would be voting on “Washington Referendum 74” that fall.  It also tackled homophobia in hip-hop music.

“Same Love” is racing up the Billboard Hot 100 (up from #28 to #16 this week).  And, on the Billboard Rap Songs chart, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have three of the top songs (#1, #2, and #4)!  The video has already been viewed more than 54 million times!

Who better than Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the hottest act on the chart, to get the word out about marriage equality and homophobia!  Even if you’re not a rap or hip hop fan, take seven minutes to watch this incredible video with a powerful message.  And, another thing that I love about the video is that there is a sparkler and champagne toast.  Ray and I did that at our wedding reception almost two years ago!  🙂

And, while it doesn’t matter, another thing that makes this even more amazing is that Macklemore is straight.

Macklemore

He says, “It’s a record I’ve wanted to write a long time.  I tried writing it from the perspective of a gay bullied kid… I grew up in the Catholic Church, I grew up with two gay uncles and a gay godfather, and I grew up in the hip hop community. So the Catholic Church and hip hop community are known as being very homophobic communities in a lot of ways.”

Gay Uncles

And, those are his gay uncles.

MORE Z IS ON THE WAY, BUT I’M NOT TALKING “ZZZZZ”, AS IN SLEEP

After months of speculation about how “World War Z” would perform at the box office, the verdict is in and it has Paramount very happy.

world-war-z-poster

The $190 million, zombie flick with Brad Pitt has already brought in $271.4 million in its first thirteen days ($136 million of that is from the United States).  Talk about the troubles the production encountered and a third act re-shoot gave Paramount cold feet about the movie becoming a trilogy.  However, after the box office success, last month Paramount announced that it was moving ahead with a sequel!

Now, we can see if the “camouflage” will really buy the survivors time!  That’s not really a spoiler because you’d have to know what the “camouflage” is and I’m not talking about what you see them wearing on “Duck Dynasty”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Carry On Elementary English Usage

TASTY, BLOODY DEXTER

The eighth and final season of my favorite show, “Dexter”, premiered last Sunday night and shattered records.  This season opener ranked as the series’ highest-rated premiere ever with 2.5 million viewers at 9 p.m., which is up 4% from the season seven premiere.  For the night, “Dexter” had 3.2 million viewers, up 5% from season seven.

Dexter S8

And, since I can’t have Dexter for my birthday, I’ll settle for the “Dexter” action figure or these bloody, incredible desserts created to coincide with the kick off to the final season and the last twelve episodes!

Dexter Cupcakes Dexter Cupcakes2

These sweet confections are from Magnolia Bakery in New York City.  The red velvet cupcakes are topped with a whipped vanilla icing dripping in blood (caramel) and sugar “glass” shards!

SERIOUSLY, GROW A PEAR!

If you remember back to last spring and summer, it was a very warm to hot one in the Quad Cities.  March 2012 was the warmest on record with an average temperature of 53.3°, which was more than 14° above average.  And, we only had 4″ of snow in March 2012 and that fell toward the beginning of the month.

Needless to say that flowers, shrubs, and trees got off to a quick start.  This picture was taken toward the end of June last year.  The pears were huge!

Pears 062412

It’s a much different story this year.

With 10.6″ of snow and temperatures almost 8° below average this March (about 22° colder than March 2012), the growing season is a little behind.   And, it isn’t being helped by more than 21″ of rain falling in April, May, and June.  We’ve only been at 90° or higher three times this year.  Last year, at this time, we had already been there 15 times!

This pear picture was taken this week!  As you can see, they are much smaller.

Pear July 2013

I THOUGHT ABOUT “MACHETE KILLS” AND GOT SIDETRACKED

When I hear the word “Latin”, I instantly think of sexy Enrique Iglesias and Sofia Vergara!   Be still my beating heart! 🙂  How could two people be any sexier???

Enrique Iglesias sofia-vergara

This really has nothing to do with them, it just gave me a reason to Google search images of Enrique and Sofia!  Okay, now that I’m sidetracked, I’ll talk about Sofia and her new movie.  I’ve gone to two movies lately, “World War Z” and “White House Down” and both showed previews of her action flick coming out this fall, “Machete Kills”.

Machete-Kills-Lady-Gaga MACHETE KILLS

It features the acting debut of Lady Gaga and Sofia is over the top cray cray in the previews.  I definitely won’t be seeing it in a theater, but I’ll check it out on DVD.  While it doesn’t appear to be my kind of movie, it’s crazy enough that I’m interested.

And, when listing the stars in the movie, the trailer boasts, “and introducing Carlos Estevez” as the President of the United States.  WTH??  Sorry, Charlie Sheen, you can’t sneak that past me.  I know it’s you.

OKAY, NOW THE HOT LATINA WITH A SHOT OF TEQUILA

Shakira - Paulina Rubio

Does the name Paulina Rubio ring a bell to you?  That’s her on the right in the white shirt.

The other woman is Colombian singer Shakira.  Of course, Shakira is the biggest star of the two selling more than 70 million records worldwide and she is one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time.  Shakira has had nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, four have reached the Top Ten, including her biggest hit, the #1 smash, “Hips Don’t Lie”.  You also know her as the substitute judge on “The Voice” this season for Christina Aguilera.  While Shakira is talented, I want to introduce you to my favorite Latina star.  Okay, that’s Selena, but she’s no longer with us!

PaulinaRubio

My favorite, for about a decade now, is Paulina Rubio.  The 42-year-old Mexico City native has sold about 20 million records worldwide and is regarded as the “most influential Latin celebrity in the world”.

Her first Latin album came out in 1992.  In 2002, she made a modest attempt at a crossover to English music with her album “Border Girl”.  It reached #11 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #1 on the Latin album chart.  The closest she came to having a big hit on mainstream radio in America was with “Don’t Say Goodbye/Si Tú Te Vas”, which peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rubio has scored 24 Billboard Latin chart hits.  Of those, 15 have reached the Top Ten and five of them have reached #1.  Here’s one of those #1 Latin Hits from 2004, “Dame Otro Tequila”.  She and her friends are too Caliente!  Hot!

You’ll see much more of Paulina Rubio this fall when she joins the third season of “The X Factor” as one of the two new judges replacing Britney Spears and L.A. Reid.  The other new judge is Kelly Rowland, formerly with Destiny’s Child.

INTRIGUED BY “LIFE”

I’ve don’t own a Rolling Stones album or CD.  I can only list a few of their songs without cheating and looking at Wikipedia:  “Start Me Up”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Beast of Burden” (with Bette Midler), and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, thanks to Whoopi Goldberg.

But, I just read an excerpt of “Life”, the 2010 rock memoir from Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, in a November 2010 “Rolling Stone” magazine (not to be confused with the Rolling Stones, the band) and it sounds intriguing.

Keith-Richards-book-cover-Life

The book deals with his strained relationship with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, how the Stones got started, and a lot of talk about drugs.

But, it was this quote that captured my attention and made me keep reading the article, “I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it…. It’s impossible not to end up being a parody of what you thought you were.”

“Image is like a long shadow” is so philosophical!

Keith Richards 1967 keithrichards

And, it doesn’t hurt either that in the 1960s and the 1970s, Richards was a hot, young lad!  Since I was never a big fan, it was interesting to looks back 40 or 50 years to see who he was back then.  I’m definitely getting the book and learning more about Richards and the Rolling Stones.

PEEP’S ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since I’m talking about Keith Richards, I’ll feature his band in this week’s ’80s Friday Flashback.  In the United States, from their first hit in 1964 (months before I was born) to their last radio hit in early 1990, the Rolling Stones hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 41 times.  Of that impressive feat, 23 of those songs reached the Top Ten, and seven made it all the way to #1.

My favorite Rolling Stones hit peaked at #2 in the fall of 1981, just as I was halfway through my senior year in high school.  “Start Me Up” was the first release from their #1 multi-platinum album, “Tattoo You”,  which moved more than 4 million copies sold in the U.S.

And, by the way, I remember “State of Shock” with the Jacksons, but that a Mick Jagger hit without the Stones.

‘WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

If you’re going to this movie for an Academy Award winning flick, you’re wasting your time and money.  If you’re going to see a great popcorn summer movie that’s full of action and destruction to American institutions that director Roland Emmerich likes to deliver (“Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”), you’re in the right place.

“People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (Tatum) is trying to get a job as a Secret Service to protect the President of the United States, played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.  Tatum’s John Cale is not having a good day with his 11-year-old daughter after he misses her recital.  He makes it up to her by getting her a tour of the White House.  Needless to say, terrorists take over the White House and then we have an action movie.

The movie was very entertaining, riveting, suspenseful, and enjoyable.  The biggest question on my mind as I went into the movie was not how many people would be killed or blown up, but how long would I have to wait to see Tatum lose the suit and parade around in the more comfortable and appealing white tank top. 🙂

GRADE:  B

WHD

This is a continuation of a running gag that started last summer when I had my picture taken by the poster of the very hunky Channing Tatum when “Magic Mike” was in theaters.

062912 Magic Mike

Now, there are three reasons that my body does not look like Tatum’s:  (1)  that popcorn for starters, (2) he has a trainer and the motivation to work out, and (3) he’s 33 and I’m in my late-40s!

SUMMER PICK HIT

I’ve had pretty good luck picking future hits.  You may have heard of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, but that one was already well on its way.  However, I’m still waiting for “Get It Tonight” by Erika Jayne with Flo Rida to take off.

Take note of the name Avicii, (pronounced “Uh-vee-che”).  The Swedish DJ will turn 24-years-old in early September just about a week before he releases his debut album, “#True”.

Avicii and Madonna

His career really took off last summer when he remixed “Girl Gone Wild” by Madonna and he became the first DJ to headline at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  Two performances last September were sold out and the first show took less than a minute to sell out!

While he’s had a couple of moderate radio hits in the United States (“Levels” reached #33 last year on the radio airplay and “I Could Be The One” with Nicky Romero peaked at #34 on that same chart earlier this year), his biggest successes domestically has been on the Billboard Dance chart.  Avicii has hit the Top Five with his last four songs:  “Collide” with Leona Lewis and “Levels” both topped that chart, “Silhouettes” reached #4, and “I Could Be The One” was also a #1 Dance hit.

And, the song I’m featuring today made its debut all the way up at #12 this week on the Billboard Dance chart.  It’s at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100.

HAPPY WEEKEND

I hope you have a fun, safe weekend.  Ray and I are going to relax this weekend.  With the heat and Gretel still at her grandmother’s this weekend, we’ll be spending some time in the pool.  I’m sure the potent potable will be refreshing, even if it isn’t a “Skinny Girl white cranberry Cosmo”.  We drank that yesterday in the pool. 🙂

Pool Time

Anthony